Giving children something to hold

Andrew Robinson
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Cancer patients want donated furs to make Janeway teddies

When Anne Whyte helps make a sick child happy with something as simple as a handmade stuffed animal, it makes her feel really good.

“It takes my mind off my pain,” said Whyte, who has lung and bone cancer. “It’s for a good use. It makes me feel good inside.”

Whyte is among a dozen volunteers with terminal cancer who have formed a group called Little Helpful Angels. With donated fur products, they hope to make 53 teddy bears and other animals for patients staying at the Janeway Children’s Hospital in St. John’s.

“We are trying to get fur coats because a lot of people don’t wear fur coats that much anymore or sell them or whatever,” said Whyte. “We’d like to reuse everything for the children to make the teddy bears, lions, whatever the children want.”

Whether it’s a young child or someone a bit older, Whyte hopes the animals will provide some form of respite.

“At the Janeway, there’s always children coming in and staying there for a long time, and especially palliative care patients, too, dying patients. They could be children or they could be adults. They still need nurturing. Everybody needs something to hold onto to know that they’re loved.”

So far they have made four animals. Its members have previously gathered in homes, though Whyte hopes the group may be able to make use of space in a building in Kelligrews.

The group also needs donated sewing machines. Whyte said while they mostly make the animals by hand, there is one aspect that requires the use of a sewing machine.

Anyone who would like to donate a fur item to Little Helpful Angels can contact Whyte at 240-1464.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

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